Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 4 Jun, 2024

Tuesday

I think today was a Bad Mental Health day.

I’d been wondering for a while whether I was on the slide mentally and had been too preoccupied to do anything about it. How I felt today confirmed that I was well on the slippery slope.

It was an early start for us. Lesley had a meeting to attend for her dad. It was another charity who supports victims of mesothelioma. They sound like amazing people.

That left me and The Dog to our own devices for the day.

Ordinarily, that would mean heading straight out as soon as Lesley left for a long, soggy and muddy walk along the river. But I just couldn’t get going. I lingered over a cup of tea and disappeared down a YouTube rabbit hole. With Trump convicted and the General Election campaign here under way, my usual diet of UK and US politics had gone stale. There was only so much GOP whining and Sunak self-immolating I could take. Before I knew it, eons had passed and The Dog had gone from wanting to go out to needing to go out. Time lost on YouTube is one of my Poor Mental Health Indicators.

Ordinarily, a long, soggy and muddy walk along the river is an instant release from stress. 100% concentration on The Dog and the wildlife around us to keep everyone safe and happy leaves no room for worry. Not today. Intrusive thoughts when I should be focussed on the here and now in my immediate environment is another of my high ranking Poor Mental Health Indicators.

There won’t be a single reason for it. I know that it’ll be down to stress on a number of fronts. Mum’s decline, Mum’s nursing home closure, Lesley’s Dad and Lesley’s rapid referral to a dermatology specialist for the removal of a suspicious mole are likely candidates. Among others.

Instead of being out for just a couple of hours, The Dog and I were out for more than three and a half hours. 15,000 steps. We got home just before Lesley returned from her dad’s. I was still under a cloud but I did feel better than when we set out.

When I got to The Home I arrived just as a party was breaking up. Staff were in civvies rather than their usual uniforms. I didn’t ask what the party was for. I think I already knew.

Mum was still sleepy when I got to her. It took a couple of attempts to get a response from her and when she did realise someone was talking to her she could only open one eye as the other was a bit mucky and was gummed shut. She was still too sleepy to talk. Instead of asking her I just told her I was going to read until she went back to sleep. She nodded almost imperceptibly.

It only took a couple of minutes before she was snoring and by the end of the chapter she was totally unresponsive.

I met Eleanor on my way out. She was making her way across the lounge and had two of her small stuffed toys in the basket on her walking frame.

“Hello Dear!” she said

“Hello Eleanor love. Are you alright?”

“Yeah.”

“Off to bed are you?”

“Yeah”

“And what about these two? How are they doing?”

“They’re asleep. Look at them. Aren’t they beautiful?”

“Yes. Yes they are”

 

Bibliography

Tales from the Parish: 31 humorous short stories about community, family and village life, set in the English countryside

Kindle Edition

by Stefania Hartley

Author’s Note

My Mum is in a nursing home in a small village in the Thames Valley. The photo is not of the home. I used an AI image generator to give the reader some idea of the home she’s in.

All, some or maybe even none (you’ll never know!) of the names have been changed to protect privacy and hide real identities. If you think you recognise someone then let me know and I’ll edit the post or remove it entirely

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